This is a scenario few parents will not understand.

It is summer and you are walking along a footpath with a 4 or 5-year-old ball of energy on two small legs beside you.

Just ahead, you notice a puddle of water, from a leaky water main or someone's stray sprinkler, to one side of the footpath.

What does the kid do?


Does he veer around it or splash through it?

If that was the final question you faced on Who Wants to be a Millionaire? then you would be in Italy next week buying the Ferrari.

Yep, splish splash, because kids love water - especially when the sun is beating down.

Since the day the pumps were fired up to fill the Gilray Fountain in Napier's Marine Parade ("The Spirit of Napier") back in 1971, the small pond with its four little fountains has been a magnet for paddlers.

And it was even more so, following the closure and eventual demolition of the public paddling pools at the northern end of the beachfront stretch.

We lived in view of the fountain and, yep, pretty well every day during the summers the mums and dads would turn up and watch their kids frolic in the water.

Two reasons: it was fun and it was free.

Back in mid-December I was sent off to cover the official opening of the city's newest water feature.


It's a beautifully designed gentle series of long steps, which flow with water like a placid rapid.

And there are three pretty and splashy fountains.

I mentioned to Mayor Bill Dalton at the time that it would be only a matter of days before the kids, drawn to the sound of bubbling, splashing water, would emerge from the wider landscape and "check it out".

He nodded and said what he repeated a week or so back that "kids would be kids".

The interesting factor here though is that now the parents are turning up, with their sun brollies and sunhats, and little picnic hampers, for a watery and fun outing with their little ones.

It is quite a delight to watch.

However, of course, the feature was designed as just that - a feature ... to be looked at, not stepped into.

There are still plans afoot for the total parade development, so maybe, just maybe, a nice little public paddling pool would suit the landscape?

Build it and, believe me, they will come.